Tag Archives: Photography

A Stash Is More Than Fabric: Photos

I recently wrote about my current fabric stash. In truth, every quilter’s stash includes more than fabric. We have equipment and gadgets and notions. We have patterns and books and thread. There are rolls or packages or garbage bags of batting — sometimes all three! We store, on every possible surface, UFOs (unfinished objects) and WIPs (works in process), and projects we can’t even categorize. And we have photos. Oh, my, the photos!

If you’ve seen my studio pix, you know I like my space pretty neat. I put things back when I’m done with them; I vacuum and wipe surfaces between projects. My biggest mess has been with my quilt photos. Oh, sure, that mess didn’t take up countertops or my cutting table. It didn’t spill out of drawers or off shelves. But it did include hundreds of photos taken over 13 years, which lived on two computers, three flash drives, and at least three internet-y “cloud” spaces. They were in folders of a wide range of names, nested one in another until I had no idea what I had. There were duplicates of duplicates, same photos in different sizes, and same photos but cropped and adjusted or not. But now duplicates have been deleted, best sizes and adjustments chosen, and filing names consistently applied. The quilts I’ve made are filed by year, except the donation quilts. Those are in a folder called “Donation quilts.” It’s still a work in process, and it’s not necessarily a perfect system, but it certainly is better than before.

As I sorted, I found pictures of quilts I’d forgotten. For instance, here is the top of one made as a donation through my guild, probably about ten years ago. I’d seen accounts of quilts just made from 2.5″ strips. They likely were jelly roll “race” quilts. I didn’t want to make that style with the width-of-fabric strips. Instead I joined short segments of purples and created 12″ finish blocks. I like the way the segments join into each other in unexpected places, blurring the edges of the blocks. This idea is worth trying again.


(And remember the cool thing is I can FIND this photo again if I want to!)

Here’s one from 2011. My friend Lisa and I were band parents together, and volunteering together was always more fun. We tease each other about the messes we used to get into together: I call her “Lucy” and she calls me “Ethel.” When I found some fabric with Lucy’s famous chocolate drops, I had to use it for Lucy/Lisa’s quilt.



And in 2013, I made the first special quilt I intended to keep, rather than give away. I call it “My Medallion.”


While I still have a few more items to sort, and I need to create a good back-up, I can find what I want, when I want it. I LOVE having this photo mess cleaned up. And that itself is good incentive to never let the mess accumulate again.

How do you sort and store your quilt photos? Let us know in comments.

Power Builders 03.20.15

This is Week #7 of my Power Builders creative links. If you’d like to see last week’s, you can find it here.

I call this series “Power Builders” because that’s what these little items do for me. They make me more powerful in my art and in my life. I hope they do the same for you. Some of the links will be about how other creative people use their time, structure their work, find inspiration. Some may be videos, music, or podcasts to inspire you. Some of it will be directly quilt-related but much of it will not. What you see in Power Builders will depend on what I find. Feel free to link great things in comments, too.

1) Do you still write personal letters? Take a look at some fascinating letters from artists and designers to friends, colleagues, and loved ones. This article in the Huffington Post reviews a new book by Liza Kirwin called More Than Words. Kirwin’s book contains more than 90 works of art, sent by mail as correspondence. The article highlights just a few, and they’re spectacular.

2) Kirwin’s source for these items is the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. “With over 20 million items in its continually growing collections, the Archives is the world’s largest and most widely used resource dedicated to collecting and preserving the papers and primary records of the visual arts in America.” The Archives are searchable for your use.

But the use is not necessarily for free. I was of the understanding that images owned by the federal government (including Smithsonian images) were in the public domain. However, I looked at the page on Rights and Reproductions. I was wrong:

NOTE: Documents, photographs, art work, microfilm, recordings, and transcripts owned by the Archives of American Art may be protected by copyright, trademark, or a related interest not owned by the Archives: it is the responsibility of the applicant to determine whether any such rights exist, and to obtain necessary permission for use.

3) Last week in a comment, my husband Jim reminded me of Project Gutenberg. This site “offers over 46,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online.” Adult fiction includes mysteries and detective stories, science fiction, and historical fiction, among others. Perhaps you love children’s myths and fairy tales, as I do. There is a whole bookshelf of them, with tales from all over the world. In fact, besides books, there are a number of periodicals available, including two issues of Godey’s Lady’s Book.

4) Have you ever used cyanotype to print fabrics? It’s a chemical process to create impressions and was first used in the early 1800s. Anna Atkins took note of the new technology and ran with it. She authored and illustrated the first book with photographs, actually cyanotype photograms. This article from Vox tells you a little about the development of the book, and includes some fascinating pictures from her volume.

5) So much to see in the world! I hope these all make you feel powerful. And to end today, here’s a very powerful figure Jim and I met two weeks ago.

What has inspired you this week? Let us know in comments.

Design Process — Irish Inspiration

Color, shape, line, value, texture. Unity/harmony, variety, balance/proportion, repetition/rhythm. Elements of design.

We can find inspiration by how the elements are used all around us. Engage ALL of your senses to detect them. When you eat a wonderful meal, you use taste, smell, touch, hearing, sight. You note the textures of the food and how they contrast. You see the items on the dish, how they are arrayed and relate to each other. The scents and tastes of each bite contrast and complement each other. You may note too much of one flavor — it is out of balance.

When you look for quilting inspiration, you might use a wonderful meal. See the beautiful photography on my friend Angie’s blog, The Novice Gardener. Who wouldn’t be inspired by the appearance and descriptions of her creations?

Or you might use a vacation. I was “thumbing” through some photos of a trip Jim and I took in 2011 to Ireland. Here’s a little inspiration from that trip. All photos by Jim Ruebush.

Where do you find inspiration? I’d love to hear about it.